"'Quality journalism is not cheap', said Murdoch. 'The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites'." (Murdoch plans charge for all news websites by next summer, Andrew Clark, Guardian, 6/8/09)
Here's some QJ from The Australian, circa 27/2/10. Bet you can't wait to pay for it:
Cameron Stewart*: Israel warned before: diplomat [*Associate Editor; 2009 winner of "the highest honour in Australian newspapers, the Graham Perkins Award for Australian Journalist of the Year"]:
"Ian Wilcock, who was Australia's ambassador in Israel from 1997 to 1999, has told The Weekend Australian that he met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem twice during his posting to convey to them strong concerns about the potential abuse of Australian passports by Israeli intelligence... Mr Wilcock declined to comment on the Israeli response to his warning."
Why? What's he scared of? Did Stewart bother asking him?
"But diplomatic sources say Israeli officials had given no promises and had appeared to be offended by the suggestion they might abuse the identity of Australian citizens."
Appeared to be offended? Either they were or they weren't. And why is Stewart pulling punches when only the day before he wrote: "The Australian has been told that during that meeting with Israeli government officials, the Israelis responded with 'enraged self-righteousness' at the suggestion that they would condone such identity theft"?
Which is it, Mr Quality Journalist? Did the Israelis merely appear to be offended, or did they respond with enraged self-righteousness?
Parenthetically, after reading Stewart's piece, I've come to the conclusion that Wilcock is a better representative of Israel than he is of Australia. Not only does he decline to comment on the Israeli response to his warning, but, such is the quality of his solicitude for Israelis, he does a better job of Mark Regev than Mark Regev: "The former ambassador said the willingness of Israelis to go to such extremes reflected their deep fears about national security. 'It is important to understand the psychology of Israelis in dealing with national security threats', he said. 'The Holocaust may be old news to a great part of the world but it is a living and deeply painful memory to Israelis and to Jews everywhere. Israel will never leave the security of the country to others. The belief is that Jews must be able to look after themselves'." (ibid)
Indeed Malcolm Fraser could well have had Wilcock in mind when he was quoted (on the same page) as saying that "the Jewish state could no longer use the Holocaust as an excuse to justify state-sanctioned murder, and criticism of its policies should not be dismissed as anti-Semitism." (Holocaust no excuse for murder: Fraser, Mark Dodd)
Anyway, I bet his warning to the Israelis about messing with Australian passports had them shaking in their (jack)boots.
John Lyons*: Locals accept Dubai assassination was a Mossad operation [*Middle East correspondent]:
"Things are heating up in the Middle East. They are getting worse rather than better."
The profundity! The profundity!
"Unless the pattern of history has suddenly changed, Hamas and its supporters will now do everything they can to target and kill a senior Israeli or Jewish figure abroad. And so the cycle continues."
Says who? Where's the evidence? Since when has Hamas ever killed anyone abroad?
And here's The Australian's idea of a Quality Opinion Piece: Pre-emptive attack inevitable when international law fails: If the UN had more backbone, Israel wouldn't need to act unilaterally, Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science fiction at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and president of NGO Monitor:
"In 1981, the Israeli Air force destroyed the Osiraq [sic: Osirak] nuclear reactor, the core of Saddam Hussein's effort to acquire nuclear weapons... Israeli leaders had the responsibility of preventing a power-mad dictator who threatened to blow up half of Israel from getting nuclear weapons."
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super Israeli Air Force selflessly taking on the responsibility of saving half of Israel (& the planet) from another power-mad dictator bent on frying half of Israel (& the planet) with non-existant WMDs.
"If [the international legal system, including the UN] had any relation to justice, terrorists such as al-Mabhouh would be apprehended and brought to trial, and any country that gave them shelter would be punished by the UN."
The UN should act as Israel's hitman, just as the US did in Iraq.
"Al-Mabhouh was a cold-blooded murderer; he bragged about having kidnapped and killing two Israeli soldiers."
Mossad death squaddies are warm, cuddly softies who lie awake at night wrestling with the morality of it all. Oh yeah, and post-Dubai, extremely photogenic.
"The bitter reality is that for Israel, and for others, such as Hezbollah's Lebanese targets, the international legal frameworks provide no protection."
What are you whinging about, Gerald? ILFs haven't done much to protect millions of Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and Egyptians from Israel either.
Hezbollah's Lebanese targets? Israel's been bombing, invading and occupying Lebanon for decades, killing thousands of Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians, and Hezbollah's the danger?
"In the Dubai operation, there was no collateral damage, no innocent civilians were hurt. No buildings were bombed and no country's air space or sovereignty was violated..."
Why did Israel leave Gaza to those klutzes in the IDF then? Why didn't it employ Mossad instead? And to return to the Osirak operation for a minute, weren't innocent civilians killed there? Wasn't Saudi and Jordanian air space violated? Wasn't Iraqi sovereignty trampled?
OK, that was Quality Journalism at The Weekend Australian, which comes out on Saturdays. Should you require more of it on Sunday, the place to go - and I'm sure I don't really need to remind you of this - is, of course, The Sunday Telegraph:
Yoni Bashan*: Aussie spy stooges go into hiding (28/2) [*Ex-Australian Jewish News and Young Journalist of the Year courtesy of News Limited's 2009 News Awards]:
"Australian officials are still yet to [still yet to?!] speak to 2 of the 3 Australian passport holders whose lives were thrown into turmoil when their identities were stolen by assassins thought to be an Israeli secret service hit squad."
Lives thrown into turmoil? Memo from Tony Abbott to Julie Bishop: 'Hey, Jules, listen up! While we've got Rudd on the run and in apology mode, I want you to insist that he immediately don sackcloth & ashes and crawl on his hands and knees all the way to Israel to apologise on his hands and knees (Hang on, he's already assumed that position, hasn't he? Forget that bit!) for the turmoil into which he, personally, has thrown these poor Israelis... er, Aussies... er, Israelaussies... er, Austraelis... whatever, or else resign! Also, I want you to offer all such unfortunates carte blanche, rolled-gold, no-questions-asked, Christmas Island- No Way, Joshua! asylum in Australia. Hang on, aren't our Zionist mates pulling out all stops to entice Australian Jews to Israel? Yeah, better forget that bit too'.
Thought to be an Israeli secret service hit squad? No, no, no! Only a churl would think that!
"The trio's names and passports were cloned during an execution plot targeting Hamas strongman Mahmoud Rauf al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month."
Hamas strongman? You bet, labelling al-Mabhouh merely 'a senior Hamas leader' doesn't do him justice! He was in fact The Hamas Terror Master's Hamas Terror Master, if you can follow that, and 2009 winner of the Osama bin Laden Terror Master of the Year award.
"Ms McCabe, who is married and pregnant, has gone into hiding, complaining she was 'terrified', unable to sleep and worried for her baby's health."
Memo from Tony Abbott to Julie Bishop: 'Jules, me again. Seeing this McCabe chick's gone into hiding, I want you also to demand that Rudd drop whatever else he's doing and, still in his best sackcloth & ashes gear, and still on his hands and knobblies, broadcast the following: 'Nicole, Nicole, Wherefore art thou, Nicole? Please email details of your whereabouts to me at krudd @ i'm so sorry, sorry as a pm can be dot gov dot au so that I'll know where to crawl'.
"Mr Bruce, a student living in Jerusalem, was being shielded by relatives."
Strewth, I thought only Hamas and Hezbollah did the human shield thing! Must be catching on.
"The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Australian Jewish leaders have been told not to comment following an email circulated by the Zionist Federation of Australia."
Omerta rules among the Kosher Nostra, OK?
You can't beat Quality Journalism over at News Limited. But I'd like to.